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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Latest email to Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tweksbury Councillors to protest against Staverton Airport Expansion

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Dear Councillors,

Following the article in todays Echo extolling the virtues of the new services being introduced from Gloucester Airport to the Isle of Man and Jersey I have written to the Echo to ensure that the the environmental impact of this development receives coverage to provide a more balanced view. My letter follows below in blue, with further comment at the end:

"The announcement in the Gloucester Echo today of new services to the Isle and Man highlights the dangers of allowing Staverton Airport to expand its infrastructure. Despite the claims that the airport wants to carry out the modifications to improve safety, one would have to be extremely stupid not to recognise that the true intent is to increase profits by the introduction of new higher value services, such as new passenger schedules and business jets.

Past experience has shown that it is a lot easier to stop a stupid thing from starting, than to stop a stupid thing from continuing. For example, we now find it impossible to stop motorways, despite the knowledge that we have amassed on the environmental damage that they are doing. Had we not allowed their construction in the first place, or at least constrained their initial construction, we may not be facing the environmental catastrophe of today.

Whilst, the new service from Staverton may “only” be a small plane, it is still a small plane too many. The scientific evidence is clear that we need to be reducing CO2 emissions, not trying to justify further increases by saying “it is only small” or “it is a fuel efficient plane” This new service represents the start of aspirations for growth, which if left unchallenged will pick up a momentum of its own and result in large and unnecessary CO2 emissions.

It is interesting that Mark Ryan says “Manx's corporate ethic works very well with our own core values.” In the light of campaigning for further expansions of aircraft services against the overwhelming evidence on climate change, I would be interested in understanding exactly what Mark Ryan sees as his company's core values.

The report quotes John Oates, former non-executive director for the airport as saying "Its going to be a positive thing, there are people who travel further afield for flights to the Isle of Man." It would be useful if he took a look at the M25. Demand always expands to fill supply. This service will simply develop new demand which will be used to justify further expansion. It is an ill thought out argument to claim this it will in some way reduce CO2 emissions."

To help you come to a conclusion in your debates and discussions on the issue of the airport expansion, I have enclosed links to an article in todays Telegraph. As you will see, the increasing shortage of world oil will lead to significant price rises and an economic down turn. We thus face the scenario of an airport emptied of business once it has added many tonnes of CO2 into the environment. Click here to see the link.

If you have ever managed an organisation or a project that is in difficulty, you will know that you can normally over come one problem and recover. However, when you have two concurrent problems, the chance of survival becomes significantly less. We are clearly facing two enormous and unprecedented concurrent problems, peak oil combined with climate change. It is clearly madness to pursue developing an airport against this background.

Just in case you are getting fed up of me, or you feel that you will be acting in isolation by abandoning your plans, you may also want to read todays editorial in the Independent.

Kevin Lister
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